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Top Infectious Disease News of the Week—December 31, 2017

Stay up-to-date on the latest infectious disease news by checking out our top 5 articles of the week.

#5: What Do Surgeons Need to Know About Intra-Abdominal Infections? Guidance from the Surgical Infection Society

Intra-abdominal infections (IAIs) are defined as disease processes occurring in normally-sterile parts of the abdominal cavity and are generally treated mechanically, such as by surgery. IAIs are common and, despite the medical advances over the past decades, still pose a great risk to the patient, including the risk of death. Beginning in 1992, the Surgical Infection Society (SIS) has published a series of guidelines concerning the treatment of IAIs. The previous guideline was published jointly with the Infectious Diseases Society of America in 2010.

The latest solo version by the SIS, which included an in-depth literature review, was published this past January1. The revision was planned with the intent of addressing the current challenges in treatment of IAIs. These challenges include the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, which can impair the immune system and decrease the resiliency to infections, societal aging, and the rising global occurrence of bacterial antimicrobial resistance.

Learn more here.

#4: FDA Gives Marketing Approval to Shock Wave Therapy Device for Diabetic Foot Ulcers

The Dermapace System, the first device designed to treat diabetic foot ulcers with shock wave technology, was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The device, from Sanuwave Health, was previously approved outside of the United States for advanced wound care indications, according to the manufacturing company. Its FDA indication is for the treatment of chronic, full-thickness diabetic foot ulcers, with wound areas measuring no larger than 16 cm2, but without bone exposure.

Read more about the device, here.

#3: An Infection Preventionist’s Take On the 2017 Biological Weapons Convention

It seems an unlikely story that an infection prevention (IP) epidemiologist would attend a Meeting of the States Parties (MSP) at the United Nations (UN), but here’s why civil society has an important role in the work that IPs do.

My background is in health care infection control and infectious disease epidemiology and while working on my PhD in Biodefense at George Mason University, I was fortunate to be selected for the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI). You can read more about my take on the fellowship here, but the truth is that the Center for Health Security has a special knack for selecting a diverse group of professionals and academics who all share one unique thing: a deep-rooted passion for biosecurity and biodefense. During my 2017 fellowship, I was fortunate to be selected to attend the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) MSP at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. Not only is this a life-long goal for many who study or work in biodefense, but it also signals an increasingly larger role of civil society and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) within the BWC.

Read more about the BWC, here.

#2: Measles Outbreaks in England & Greece Prompt CDC to Issue Travel Watch

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released travel watch for those heading to England or Greece, as health officials from both countries have reported outbreaks of measles, a highly contagious disease that remains common in many parts of the world.

Caused by a virus that is easily spread through the air via breathing, coughing, or sneezing, 36 cases of measles per 1 million persons are reported annually, and, according to the CDC, around 134,200 individuals die from the disease.

Measles outbreaks have been springing up all over Europe in recent months, which is why the CDC is stressing the importance of vaccination, especially for travelers. The CDC reports that the majority of measles cases that are reported in the United States are due to international travel, with unvaccinated individuals unknowingly bring home the disease where it spreads quickly to others; this is how outbreaks happen.

Read more about the travel watch, here.

#1: Comorbidities Among HIV Patients with Commercial Insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid

Because of great advances in antiretroviral therapy (ART) over the past few years, individuals who are infected with HIV are living longer than ever before. However, along with an increased lifespan comes the opportunity to develop a variety of comorbidities. These comorbid conditions may arise thanks to ongoing inflammation in the body, the toxic side effects of ART, or simply the process of aging. What hasn’t been well-studied is the existence of comorbidities in HIV-infected patients in the United States who receive health insurance and coverage from different payers—commercial insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare.

Because of the lack of data on comorbidities among HIV patients in the United States with a range of medical coverage, a team of scientists set out to investigate. Researchers from Southwest CARE Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a clinic dedicated to treating people with HIV; the University of California San Francisco; Gilead Sciences; and Truven Health Analytics conducted a retrospective analysis of records from 2003 to 2013. These records included 36,298 patients with prevalent HIV infections who had commercial insurance, 26,246 who were covered by Medicaid, and 1,854 who had Medicare. The patients were matched to a set of controls who did not have HIV.

The researchers found that no matter what kind of health coverage the subjects had, primary hypertension was the most common comorbid condition. Nearly a third (31.4%) of those with commercial health insurance had it, 39.3% of Medicaid patients had it, and more than three-quarters (76.2%) of those with Medicare had it. The second most common comorbidity was hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol, with 29.2% of commercially covered patients, 22.1% of Medicaid patients, and almost half (49.6%) of Medicare patients having it. Other common comorbidities were endocrine diseases including diabetes (21.8% of commercial-insurance recipients, 27.2% of Medicaid recipients, and 54% of Medicare recipients), diabetes alone (11%, 17.8%, and 37%), and kidney disease (8.4%, 14.7%, and 34.7%).

Read the rest of the top article, here.